The Golden Triangle was hum, not so golden

Trip Start Oct 08, 2007
Trip End Dec 16, 2008

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Flag of India  ,
Friday, October 12, 2007

So India. Whoooush. Where do I start...
My new OZ friend Mel described it really well in one sentence - stumbling over sleeping homeless people in your stilettos (as you are leaving the bar) just ain't right. It is hot, scruffy, smelly and very, very busy. The traffic in Delhi is seemingly a complete chaos - cars, caws, bikes, dogs, motorbikes, monkeys, rickshaws, barefoot children, women in brightly colored saris, man - all staring at you (mostly with curiosity), beggars, street merchants - all coexist in the streets and somehow manage to survive the frantic pace without being run over. 
I've arrived in Delhi a week ago, hoping to jump on a flight to Katmandu the next day but it wasn't meant to be. There were no flights available for weeks ahead. Also, the hotel where I was supposed to stay had arranged for a driver to pick me up from the airport. However, the driver told me they were overbooked and brought me to a different hotel in area far less central and far dodgier. I wasn't in the mood to argue at 11:30pm, so I spent the night there. First thing in the morning was to pack my bag with the intention to move to a more central hotel. Met Mel at the reception desk asking around if anyone else was taken to the wrong hotel last night. We made instant friends and decided to get out of there, hire a car and go on a trip of the Golden Triangle (Delhi, Jaipur, Agra). So we did...
Truth being told, the only thing that truly impressed me about The Golden triangle was Taj Mahal. It was beautiful, delicate and truly moving. It is absolutely out of this world. Nothing else I saw seemed exceptional. Sadly, the face of poverty is the same anywhere. Of course there were the camels, the elephants, the monkeys, the caws in the street, the old temples, etc. Unfortunately, traveling in relative comfort in a car with a driver also puts you in a position of a sideline spectator. The only people you ever meet are other tourist and the people that are trying to sell you something. It does get frustrating and takes away from the magic of discovering. We got so used to constantly being hassled that we did not even notice it. It was really funny to see how two local girls that were walking in front of us in the market got really uncomfortable and embarrassed by the constant "hello" and "excuse me" that one of them even tried to cover her hair. I wondered where are all the nice Indian people that I know from London and New York - probably staying the hell out of those tourist areas:) 
I was unimpressed by Jaipur, the Pink City, the capital of Rajistan. Okay, the old city was pink, but everything else was just like everywhere else. Maybe my expectations about Rajistan were too high. In any event, I'm done with Northern India. I managed to arrange a plane ticket to Kathmandu on Oct 13th, which saves me from a three-day train/bus journey. When I come back from Nepal and Tibet in December, I'll go down south.  
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devksen on

Hi Vicki
Sorry you didn't enjoy too much of India so far. If you would like I would be happy to put you in touch with my family there, it might make your experience a little more interesting. If you go to Calcutta let me know and I will send you the contact info for my uncles and aunt's there. One of my aunt's cooks the best Indian food (Bengali) I've ever tasted. I'm sure they would be happy to show you around and introduce you to some interesting people.

If you go to the South, you have to see Palolem in Goa and Hampi in Karnataka. Hampi in particular is probably the most amazing place I've seen in my life...plan on spending three or more days. Also, Kerala is mind blowing. What about Pondicherry? I'd also suggest the caves at Ajanta, though that's not in the south. I would say you can skip Bangalore though. Not that much to see unless you're into IT.


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